Art ‘n’ Taters in Terre Haute


A baked potato called the Texan, containing steak, bacon, onion rings, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and barbecue sauce. I’m not the kind of guy to call a baked potato a full meal, but maybe I would if all other baked potatoes were made industrial-strength like this.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: for my wife’s birthday we spent a Saturday walking around Terre Haute, Indiana. In Part One of this trilogy we met an Auschwitz survivor whose sheer force of will shames us both; in Part Two we visited the Clabber Girl Museum and Bake Shop, learned still more about World War II, and had snacks.

Here in Part Three: other sights, sculptures, and shops we saw around town on this fair October day, including poetry, pink ribbons, surprise comics, and her birthday lunch of choice.

A Chorus of Trumpets!

Howard Kalish’s 2011 installation “A Chorus of Trumpets” sits in the center of the Indiana State University campus, a major part of downtown Terre Haute.

Stone Violinist!

On the leg of a nearby bench, the world’s tiniest violinist is tired of all the jokes about him.

Larry Bird Statue!

A tribute to local hero Larry Bird, who played at ISU for three years before signing with the Boston Celtics. And the rest is basketball history.

Max Ehrmann!

Hometown writer Max Ehrmann (1872-1945), best known for the 1927 poem “Desiderata”.

Max Ehrmann!

This challenging advice is one of several verses from “Desiderata” embedded in the brick walkway around Ehrmann’s statue.

Handy Horse!

This handy horse seems related to the racehorse we saw at the Clabber Girl Bake Shop. I assume these horses of a different color are part of a series, but we had no luck in discovering their story.

Art Car!

Small painted art car for some reason. Art’s sake, maybe.

Morgan Stanley Car!

Companion car sponsored by MorganStanley.

Wabash Mural!

Mural illustrating the general Wabash Valley area.

Canoe Mural!

Same mural, added detail tacked on to the far right end.

Childrens Museum Cloud Machine!

The Terre Haute Children’s Museum has a cloud-making machine in their foyer. You can see that and browse their gift shop for free. We had no kid with us, so we didn’t check out the exhibits past the paywall.

Vigo County Courthouse!

The Vigo County Courthouse has been around in one form or another for nearly 200 years. This architecturally ambitious version was dedicated in 1888 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Pink Ribbon Courthouse!

…and these pink ribbons were added sometime after 1983.

Tater & Joe's!

For her birthday lunch, Anne chose a small establishment called Tater & Joe’s, whose specialty is baked potatoes. They also sell sandwiches, but we didn’t drive all this way just for sandwiches.

Tater & Joe's!

Tater & Joe’s is narrow and easily mistaken for an ordinary bar, especially since they have a large bar up front. On the other hand, they also have a tall shelf full of board games for customers looking for ways to pass the time.


Her potato of choice was the Hoss — BBQ pulled pork and cheddar cheese. Simple, succinct, savory.

Birthday Lady!

The lovely birthday lady, most pleased with her birthday road trip.

Chuck's Comics!

We made one selfish stop for me at Chuck’s Comics, the second-tiniest comic shop I’ve ever seen. It’s currently located on the second floor of a decades-old office building that otherwise looked virtually deserted. The selection was small but mighty, and not just Marvel and DC. My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I found an issue I’d been missing of the obscure yet excellent We Can Never Go Home. I hereby approve of this shop.

Semi Crash!

On our way out of town, we passed a semi that had driven off the I-70 entrance ramp and stopped a couple dozen feet short of demolishing someone’s house. We pray no one was injured and that the damages were reversible.

Other than that last shot, we declared our day in Terre Haute a success. And our next birthday road trip will be even better, assuming I can come up with a new idea before next May…

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